William Stanley Haseltine: Understanding the Romance

KatherineAmerican Paintings, Artist Spotlight, European PaintingsLeave a Comment

William Stanley Haseltine

A typical painting by William Stanley Haseltine is calming, friendly and has a wonderful romantic quality. Scenes of waves grazing across a worn stony shore, illuminating bright light, and reflective waters are all hallmarks.

After graduating from Harvard in 1852, Haseltine briefly studied with Paul Weber, a German landscape artist. In 1855, Haseltine held his first show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Later that summer, he began to travel. His first destination was Dusseldorf to learn more about painting at the famed Dusseldorf School.

The Dusseldorf School taught classical subjects and hard linearism. Influenced by the Neoclassicists and the Romantics, it prized precession. Around the middle of the nineteenth century, Americans began to seek out the school. It was soon seen as a normal part of the American artist’s learning experience. Others who studied there were Albert Bierstadt, George Benjamin Luks, August Macke, Lesser Ury and countless more.

William Stanley Haseltine

“Pulpit Rock, Nahant” by William Stanley Haseltine

After travel through Germany and Switzerland, Haseltine made his way to Italy. Italy became his love and he extensively sketched Rome and Capri. While he was enchanted by Italy, Haseltine quickly returned home. Upon his return, he noticed the natural beauty of America. Coastal landscapes of Mount Desert Island in Maine and Rhode Island’s Point Judith were lovingly recreated on canvas. These coastal scenes were especially fascinating for Haseltine, who enjoyed recreating geographic details. William Stanley Haseltine became famous for his masterful representations of rock formations.

Light was another specialty. The light was so impressive in his works that he is considered to be a part of the luminism movement. The term luminism did not appear until 1954. John Baur, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, defined it when he had noticed a distinct style had been born within the Hudson River School.  The prominence and celebration of clear, clean light had become a significant feature in the works of some of these artists. It was typically seen in those who specialized in painting seashores and other landscapes. This light gave an increased feeling of depth within the paintings.

After his wife died in childbirth, Haseltine remarried and returned to Italy. He lived in an international artist colony and traveled across Europe whenever the opportunity arrived.  A studio at Palazzo Altieri was open to the public twice a week were he sold Italian landscapes to American tourists.  He lived in Rome until his death in 1900.

William Stanly Haseltine works are highly sought after today by art collectors.  The influences of his education, travel and even the time in which he lived, give Haseltine’s style a very romantic quality.  It is this quality that contributes to his work being so desirable. His paintings are included in museum collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the SmithsonianAmericanArt Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and many more.


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America.

To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *